From education to employment

First Charity-Funded School in Cambodia is opened by Tropic Skincare

Today (2 Apr), @TropicSkincare Founder & CEO, Susie Ma, presented Co-Owner @Lord_Sugar with a framed image of Tropic’s brand-new school in Cambodia, fully funded by their charity partnership with United World Schools @teamUWS

Tropic aim to be a force for good beyond beauty, with an Infinite Purpose to help create a healthier, greener, more empowered world. Their range of award-winning skincare, makeup and body care products promote confidence amongst their customers by harnessing the power of naturally active ingredients sustainably sourced from the tropics. Since September 2019, every single Tropic purchase has counted towards a goal of raising over 1 million days of education by the end of 2020, with every collective £50 spent funding a whole day in either Cambodia, Nepal or Myanmar. Together with their customers and Ambassadors, over 500,000 days of education for children in some of the world’s most remote regions have been funded. 

As part of the United World Schools program, communities in need of schools are identified by the charity, among them was the indigenous village of Ta Lart Thmey in North East Cambodia, a remote fishing and farming community where despite 75% of the population speaking the national language of Khmer, less than 10% of people can read or write. Until now, the closest school for the children in this community was a three-and-a-half-hour walk away, putting them among the 62 million children worldwide without access to primary education. Now, all 350 people in this remote village can reap the rewards of the new school. Not only are there four classrooms for teaching, there are also two working toilets and a fresh water supply, as well as a library. 

It was thanks to Tropic’s business success that this partnership was made possible. Susie Ma sold her first Tropic product when she was just 15 years old, and now Tropic is one of The Sunday Times Fast Track 100’s fastest-growing beauty brands for the fourth year running. In 2011, Susie appeared on The Apprentice aged 21, and despite coming third in the process, she became the first runner-up contestant to secure funding from Lord Sugar, and Tropic was officially launched in 2011. Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, and now has over 200 products in their range, scooping over 150 industry awards. 

2019 was an impressive year for Tropic, with a turnover of £34.9m and profits of £6.7m. They also moved into their new Tropic HQ in Surrey five times the size of their previous premises at 48,000 square feet, where their 160 members of staff are based. This HQ houses Tropic’s Innovation Lab where products are formulated, the office, as well as the Ingredient Pantry, where exotic extracts make their way into the products which are manufactured, packaged, wrapped and dispatched on-site. 

Susie Ma says:

I started Tropic aged 15 with an aim to help my mum with the household bills as we were new to the UK and struggling to make ends meet. From humble beginnings, I feel so proud that Tropic is now able to give back on this scale. Visiting the community that will benefit from this school was an experience I’ll never forget; it will have such a great impact on their lives, all thanks to our customers and Ambassadors. 

Lord Sugar says:

This kind of charity partnership has always been a dream of Susie’s, and thanks to Tropic’s success it has become a reality. Since we announced our United World Schools initiative to Ambassadors in September, they have been eager to share with their customers. I’m pleased that we are able to give back through the work that we do while ensuring business is still booming.

Tropic sell products in the UK only via their website and family of Tropic Ambassadors. These Ambassadors start their own beauty businesses with the brand, selling to friends, family and colleagues online and through Pamper Experiences. After launching with 200 Ambassadors in 2013, Tropic now has a community of over 14,000.

As with every UWS development, sustainability is at the very heart of this new school. Tropic’s partnership has funded the building of the school, and will continue to ensure the community thrives. The partnership will also contribute towards other schools and communities in remote areas of Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal. United World Schools are dedicated to ensuring all schools stay open to serve the community for many decades to come. 

In the name of sustainability, Tropic’s UWS partnership will also fund the following:

  • The recruitment, training, and development of teachers, who speak the local dialect
  • Maintenance of the site, to safeguard against flood or storm damage
  • The provision of Education Officers to continually develop the education provided
  • A broad range of classroom essentials, such as desks, chairs, whiteboards, and stationery

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